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January 2020

Worker suffers arm amputation from unguarded machine

WorkSafe Victoria v Laurent Boulangerie Pty Ltd (2015) (unreported*)

Facts

Laurent Boulangerie Pty Ltd (Laurent) is a bakery involved in the manufacture, retail and wholesale of French food products.

On 1 December 2013, a Laurent worker removed guarding from beneath a dough processing machine in order to perform maintenance work. The worker did not replace the guarding, as further maintenance work was to be conducted later that day.

Laurent workers were warned to stay away from the unguarded area. However, later that day, a worker began to clean beneath the machine. As a result, his arm was caught and severed, and was unable to be reattached.

Judgment

The Moorabbin Magistrates Court in Victoria found that Laurent had breached the Victorian OHS Act because business convenience was given a higher priority than the worker’s safety. The Court fined Laurent $60,000. They paid an additional $4,473 in court costs).

Lessons

The health and safety of workers should always be prioritised over business convenience.

* What Are Unreported Judgements?

Unreported judgements are recent court decisions that have not yet been published in a law report series, although they have usually been published on the court’s website. Although they are less persuasive than reported judgements, they may still be cited as a statement of the law on a particular subject.

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